Home-Based Business Opportunities

Over the years, I’ve had the distinct priviledge of having an active drive to try out new business ideas. While not all of these turned out to be huge money makers (some were downright scams and lose me money), all of them were incredible learning opportunities.
I figured it would be beneficial to share my experiences and comment on several different types of home-based business opportunitites available today. This will be the main subject of today’s post. However, I want to hear about you all’s experiences as well.

So, feel free to post your thoughts in the comments section below.

Let’s get started…

  • Surveys
    • Paid survey taking is one of the few legitimate work-at-home money making opportunities.
    • However, the pay is generally not very much.
    • David Bach, in his book titled, Fight For Your Money, recommends the following survey taking providers/websites.
    • My Experience
      • I have tried taking surveys from each of the above websites.
      • Generally, I have found that there is not much money at all to be made with these because 1) they don’t send you enough survey opportunities and 2) they usually place high payout levels on the accounts, which makes it tough to ever reach the level where you can get paid.
      • As a result of my experience, my verdict is as follows – Survey taking is not a scam, but I would not recommend it to make money from home.
  • Envelope Stuffing
    • This one is absolutely, 100%, a scam. Do not attempt it.
    • My Experience
      • Thankfully, I have never tried this one and have therefore, never been ripped off.
  • ChaCha
    • ChaCha is an interesting, legitimate home business/money making opportunity.
    • ChaCha is a free text message question-answering service in which users text message questions to the ChaCha system, and then ChaCha Guides (as they are called) answer the question by looking it up on their home computer through Google.com. It is actually pretty fun!
    • The pay rates usually range from about 5 cents to 25 cents per answer that you give.
    • My Experience
      • I signed up for and performed as a ChaCha guide for about 1 month last year.
      • During my time, I made approximately $5.
      • Overall, the work was not that hard (and was pretty fun), except that it tended to take a lot longer than I thought to accumulate enough earnings to reach the $100 payout level.
      • As a result of my experience, I would not recommend ChaCha as a home-business opportunity.
  • eBay Selling and Amazon Selling
    • I have summarized the benefits and pitfalls of selling items on both eBay and Amazon in the link below.
    • In my experience, no home-business opportunity has made me more money than selling items on eBay. I would highly recommend it.
  • Blogging
    • Blogging is a legitimate home-business opportunity.
    • However, it takes a long time (> 1 year) to build up enough of a reader-base to make money through advertising on your site.
    • However, the good thing is that with sites like Blogger.com (what I use for this blog) and WordPress.com, you can start a blog about anything you want for FREE.
    • My Experience
      • Personally, I really enjoy writing my personal finance blog. It is one of the joys of my life that I look forward to doing each day.
      • However, you should not expect to make big money with it. If you are thinking of starting a blog, make sure to pick a topic that you enjoy and can use your blog to learn more about that topic.
  • Pet Waste Removal Service
    • Starting your own pet waste removal service (or a pay-for-fee service where people pay you to clean up the pet excrement from their yards) is an easy, low cost business to start up and run, provided that you can stomach the smell of a little fecal matter.
    • This service is surprisingly in high demand, as yards have gotten smaller and smaller and people’s time has become more limited.
    • Fees for service can range from $15-$50 per week, depending on the size of the person’s yard and number/size of dogs/cats.
    • My Experience
      • Back in 2006-2007, I started up one of these services, and became pretty successful at it, gathering a collection of clients that I serviced on a weekly basis.
      • Earnings – In total, I probably made about $500 from this venture.
      • I had to stop doing it my senior year of college because my time outside of school was so limited.
  • Mystery Shopping
    • Essentially, what mystery shopping involves is getting paid for providing an evaluation of your “customer experience” when you go in to a store and purchase items like normal.
    • Big chain-stores pay large amounts of money to people in order to improve the experience that customers have.
    • Personally, I have never tried mystery shopping, but David Bach (in Fight For Your Money) recommends the following websites/providers for mystery shopping. He also mentions that it is one of the few legitimate home business opportunities.
  • Customer-Service Representative
    • This is yet another home-business opportunity that I have not tried, but just found out about in David Bach’s book.
    • In his book, David relates the fact that approximately 700,000 Americans earn around $8 per hour as customer service reps, handling customer-service calls out of their own homes for resort, hotel, and other companies.
    • Several of the agencies offering these legitimate opportunities are listed below:
      • Alpine Access
      • LiveOps
      • Arise
        • It should be noted that Arise does require their contractors to have their own corporation set up.
      • West Home
        • In looking at the websites, this is probably the one that I would most likely choose if I were to ever attempt customer-service rep work. 
  • Multi Level Marketing
    • At a high level, multi-level marketing opportunities offer you the ability to make money in two ways – 1) by selling products offered by the organization, and 2) selling the business opportunity that you are doing to others. Since these MLM (multi-level marketing) organizations involve selling products, they are creating value for others, and are therefore technically legal.
    • However, it is very difficult to make any money with these opportunities. I would highly recommend avoiding them at all costs.

Keep on learning!


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  1. retirebyforty says:

    nice rundown!
    It's hard to make money with these home base businesses, I guess that's why people have day job. 🙂
    My recent post Farmers Market Splurges

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